Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cinnamon French Toast Bake from Pillsbury

I originally pinned this to my {NOM NOM NOM - SWEETS} board on Pinterest a few months ago. There are so many things to pin on Pinterest, many of them fall by the wayside after the reach it to my board and never come to fruition, but I couldn't get this one off my mind. I've always been a sucker for cinnamon rolls - especially warm ones that are a little bit gooey. I had to try this. The kicker though, of course, is that pesky Weight Watchers plan I've been telling you about. This does not fit in. At all. I tried to calculate points but I swear to you when I entered all of the info and then submitted for a calculation, the response, "LOL" is all that came back. ;)

I decided to save it for a special occasion. Then it's ok, right? Well, no, probably not.... but I'm nothing if not realistic, and that realism tells me that eliminating indulgent sweets from my life entirely is not a path to success. It's a path to regrettable binge-fests. So I scheduled this baby for Easter breakfast and bought the calories... err... ingredients.

Fast forward to Easter morning, and it was as if God spoke to me saying, "Sarah, you do not need those calories. You will not make that dish!" No lie. I woke up with an excited little boy and sat down to watch him search for Easter eggs and felt my entire back compress like an accordion, one vertebra at a time. I was paralyzed. I was in excruciating pain and unable to move. Aside from wondering how the crap I was going to get better, my first thought really was that it was a message from God. No lie... this is how my brain works. I appreciate the help from above, but perhaps next time he could make it so that the Pillsbury Grands are out of stock before I get to the store rather than immobilize me? I'm just sayin'. 

I never did get the dish made on Easter. I didn't really get off the couch until Wednesday, actually. We ended up having this for supper last Friday night. Easter was over, but I had the ingredients on hand and had to use them up.

I don't think I have ever in my life put so many calories or grams of sugar in one baked dish, but I forged on. I'm not really a huge sweet eater, so I wasn't sure I would like it. I thought it would be too sweet. Like, sickeningly sweet. Cinnamon rolls plus butter plus 3/4 c. of syrup (!!) PLUS the icing that comes with the rolls? I was scared. 5 eggs seems like a lot, but they have a LOT of sugar to balance out. 

Fortunately, I was scared for no reason at all. This dish was deeeeeelish!! Sweet, yes. But overly sweet? Not really. No more so than any other coffee cake or cinnamon roll you might have tried.

The bake cuts nicely into squares, and we served it up with sausage links and fresh fruit on the side. (Note that we serve on small kid-sized plates these days. That's one way to make sure your portions don't get out of hand.) We had a ton of leftovers and it reheated well, although the first serving is always the best. This dish could also be made ahead of time and then popped in the oven when it's time.

1/4 cup melted butter

2 cans Pillsbury® Grands Cinnamon Rolls
5 eggs
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 heaping teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup maple syrup (I really think you could drop this to a 1/2 cup without effecting the flavor)

Melt butter and pour into ungreased 13×9" pan. Separate cans of dough into 5 rolls reserving the icing for later use.  Cut each roll into 8 pie shaped pieces and add to buttered baking dish.

Beat eggs in medium bowl. Add cream, cinnamon and vanilla and beat until well blended. Pour over cinnamon roll pieces.

Sprinkle with pecans and drizzle 3/4 cup syrup over the top. Bake at 375 for 20 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. I cooked mine for 20 mins and the center was VERY gooey. Too gooey. This cuts better and tastes better (even to someone who likes gooey rolls) if it is firm. I would recommend checking the center as it cooks and taking it out when the consistency at center matches that at the edges. Cool 15 minutes.

Remove the covers from the icing and microwave on medium or 50% power for 10 to 15 seconds. (Should be thin enough to drizzle.) Drizzle icing over the top. 

The recipe I pinned originally was found {HERE} on the aptly named Oh My Sugar High! site. They suggest sprinkling with powdered sugar and serving with syrup if desired. Not only did I not desire, I just don't think it's necessary. 

I think my husband gave the best compliment..... "We never have to go to Cinnabon again!"

Good thing, too, since the local one closed. We used to visit once a year to split a roll, and that's about how often this dish will make it into my rotation. It might be an Easter standby from now on. I mean, unless God has other plans.... 

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Weight Watchers Update

For those who missed my original post about my Weight Watchers journey, I joined (again, but after several years away) on February 16th, 2013 with a new determination to achieve the one thing in life I've ever wanted that has been seemingly unattainable: my goal weight.

I have struggled with obesity my entire life, though frankly I hate that word. Such negative connotations associated with it, but that's a post for a different day. This is probably my fourth time with Weight Watchers and my sixth or seventh "serious" attempt at weight loss. Every time I get going, I get thrown off by life events or long cold winters or really yummy breadsticks. It doesn't take much.... or at least it didn't. I've had a little epiphany in recent weeks though and I'm hoping it will help me stick to the program this time and reach my goal once and for all.

What I've realized is this:

1.) I really don't even enjoy the taste of most of the high calorie, high fat foods I eat.

2.) I am a stress eater.

They say knowing is half the battle, and I'm hoping that's true. If so, I'm halfway to success, right!? SO, now that I know these things... what do I do with that information? Well, for one I stop talking myself out of healthier options with words like, "but I don't like the taste of that." Because the God's honest truth is that I don't really think the taste of what I had been eating was that spectacular either. The fast food and delivery restaurants are convenient, but not nutritious and certain not gourmet. If time is tight I'd be just as content with a Weight Watchers/Healthy Choice/Lean Cuisine freezer meal, so why not choose that? And before you comment telling me all the reasons those aren't particularly healthy either... I KNOW. At this point they are winning the health argument because they are going head to head with things like stuffed crust meatlovers pizzas, cheesy bread, and ice cream. I'm considering the alternative. And, also, that's just an example. I actually don't eat that many freezer meals. Maybe three a month, if that.

The biggest factor in my weight loss success at this point has been portion control and tracking. I track everything. Every bite. If I'm not able to find point/calorie totals, I guess, and I always make sure to guess generously. I'd rather over-guess than under-guess.

I allow myself one evening of splurging (after weigh in... doesn't everyone?). If I'm craving anything with unreasonably high points, I save it for Thursday night. I count through the day up to weigh in time, but then I stop and let dinner and dessert be what they are and get back on track Friday morning. Oddly, the last two times I've allowed myself this free time on Thursday evening, I really haven't even enjoyed it. It might stop entirely or be reduced drastically in the coming weeks. We'll have to see.

I eat three meals a day and two snacks. My choices haven't always been the best... I'd like to do more clean eating... but I've come a LONG way and I always count whatever I'm putting in my mouth and so far, despite occasional Pop Tart and Eggo breakfasts, I've done well. Better than ever, actually. As of yesterday I'm down 18.8 lbs, and I'm pretty happy with that number. I could eat better. I could exercise more. I could try more healthy recipes. I could start some sort of squatting and tricep regimen so that my rump and arm flab dwindles proportionally to the rest of me (which sadly does not seem to be the case at the moment). Eventually I will find the time and/or willpower to do all of these things, but for now I am doing enough. Every day I do enough, and I always will.

No pressure.

Pressure equals stress, and stress equals bad choices in the food department.

Every week I update my weight loss story in one of my Origami Owl lockets. I love wearing it as a reminder of how far I have come, and particularly love the combo of this rose gold locket with the olive accent stones. I'm happy. I have faith I will continue on this journey. All is well.  :)

Would you like to start a weigh loss locket to tell your story? Or do you have a different story to tell?

Start your locket {here}.

Would you like to host a Take Out Party and collect orders from friends to earn your locket for free? Email me at sairabee at yahoo dot com to get started. You don't have to live near me to do this either. This is possible anywhere in the country! 

Would you like to join my team and help other people tell their story? There is a waitlist for new designers right now, but don't let that stop you. There was a waitlist when I signed up, too. It didn't slow me down at all. Email me at the address above and let's talk. I'd love to have you join me on this journey! 

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